Monday, September 27, 2010

Patra Ni Maach with coconut and peanut salad

Patra Ni Maach

I like taking recipes from different parts of the world and trying them out on my family. Even my kids love to try new flavors and do not hesitate if the dish looks and smells different from anything they have experienced earlier. This week I took a traditional Paarsi delicacy called Patra Ni Maach which literally means fish in a leaf. This dish is usually made with Hilsa variety of fish which is abundant in bones but has a wonderful taste. Pomfret is also used by many people. But here these two varieties are not easily available so I like making it with salmon.

Fish is marinated in a green marinade of mint, coriander and coconut and then wrapped in banana leaves. In the banana leaf it can be cooked in one of three different ways -- steaming, baking or frying. If banana leaves are difficult to find, use parchment paper or better still aluminium foil.

Patra ni maach is made on special occasions and served over a bed of rice. I tried to pair it with a salad that incorporates many of the coastal flavors and complements the fish wonderfully. the crunchiness of the coconut and peanuts along with the sour tang of lime juice gives an explosion of textures and flavors together in the mouth.

Patra Ni Maach

Patra Ni Maach

1/4 cup each fresh mint and coriander leaves
1/2 cup fresh desiccated coconut
2 cloves of garlic
lime juice
salt and red chili powder
4 Salmon fillets
  1. Banana leaves cleaned and dry (if available) or aluminium foil cut into 8x8 inch squares 
  2. Put the first five ingredients in a blender and make a fine paste, almost like a chutney. 
  3. Smear the chutney all over the salmon fillets and keep aside for 15 minutes. Since the marinade is acidic, any more marination will start to breakdown the fish. 
  4. Spread banana leaves (or foil) and place the fish fillets in the center. 
  5. wrap these into tiny bundles. If using banana leaves then you can tie the bundles with a string or secure with a toothpick so they don't open while cooking. 
  6. Steam the fish bundles for 10-15 min till fish is cooked thru. OR bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes making sure you do't overcook, otherwise fish will get tough. 
  7. You can also stick it under the broiler for 2 min to brown the top, but its completely optional. 
  8. Serve hot in packets for everyone to open with a side of lemon rice and crunchy coconut, peanut salad.
Coconut and peanut salad

Coconut and peanut salad
1 head Romaine lettuce shredded
2 large Carrots grated
1 Cucumber chopped into small chunks
1 cup Fresh coconut grated
1/2 cup Peanuts
Lime juice and rind of 2 limes
Chaat masala(available in all Indian grocery stores) OPTIONAL
Olive oil
Mustard seeds
Salt to taste
  1. Mix the first five ingredients in a large bowl. 
  2. In a small pan take 1 teaspoon of olive oil and stir in the peanuts. roast on medium high for 5 minutes constantly stirring till they impart a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and mix in chaat masala. 
  3. In another pan take about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and whet hot add the mustard seeds. Cover with a lid and remove from heat. the seeds will splatter and make a popping sound. when the sound stops open the lid and add the hot concoction the the salad. stir well. 
  4. Just before serving add peanuts, salt to taste and lime juice along with the grated rind into the salad . Stir well and enjoy.


  1. Nice one . This is a very popular dish for bengalis also .

    1. Oh really, that is great to know. Thanks.

  2. This looks so flavorful, healthy and yummy! very new to me